Morning minutia: The political season | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Morning minutia: The political season

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Some more odds and ends:

* ARKANSAS SHOCK TROOPS: If I read Twitter correctly, Rep. Nate Bell's wife, Phyllis, one of the Kochs' minions in Arkansas, has been working to get out the vote in Virginia for the "freedom fighters." The Kochs' Americans for Prosperity, which has a big GOTV campaign underway there, would never directly endorse a candidate, of course, because that would be wrong for a social welfare organization set up under the U.S. tax code  But if you read their website, I don't think it takes much figuring that they are not targeting voters who might prefer Terry McAuliffe.

PS — Mother Jones has a good summary of the wackiness of the candidates the Kochs are trying to elect in Virginia. Maybe a touch too much obsession with sex acts between consenting adults.

* DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO: Hungry for any oppo thread to pursue, Republican shills are busily filling social media with sneering comments that Democrat James Lee Witt will announce his candidacy for the sprawling 4th Congressional District by conference call today. At least he'll get on the phone. To name a few Republican candidates who announced by release, rather than news conference or telephone call: French Hill and Col. Conrad Reynolds in the 2nd and Tommy Moll in the 4th. (I think the colonel paid a courtesy call to Radio KNUT not long after.) Tim Griffin chose to leave the race the same way. Witt could ask everybody to trek up to Yell County. He might figure he can broadcast his message better this way. French Hill on the other hand …. Rep. Ann Clemmer went the standup route for cameras.

* PARSING THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS: My observer within the bowels of the secretive University of Arkansas money machine offers some thoughts on reporting by the Democrat-Gazette over the weekend about record shredding in the UA Advancement Decision. It was all routine housekeeping, officials seemed to indicate. A university with an immense herd of full, vice, assistant, associate and other deans and chancellors CAN generate a lot of paper.

It happens, though, that the destruction began two months before Chancellor David Gearhart called Feb. 5 for legislative and UA system audits. This is only coincidental, of course.

From the Feb. 24 D-G:

"Frankly," Gearhart said later, "I woke up one morning after one of Mr. (Paul) Greenberg's editorials" in the Democrat-Gazette that was critical of the university regarding the Advancement Division's financial issues. "And I thought 'What the heck, let them come in an look at everything. ...Let's let the auditors come in."

He did NOT say: "What the heck, let's let them come in and see everything — except the stuff we shredded in the last two months." Though he could have said that and been more precise. Shredding continued. Auditors later complained that fact-finding had been hampered by lack of documents.

From a Sept. 13 report by Benji Hardy on his blog for the Legislative Digest when Gearhart responded to a question from Nate Bell:

"We asked for an audit...had we been trying to cover anything up, I don't think, sir, that we would have done that."

Got it. Asking for an audit proves UA is on the up and up. Shredding documents for two months prior to the call for an audit is not to be taken as relevant in assessing UA accountability and transparent. That a direct subordinate of Gearhart, Denise Reynolds, was in charge of shredding after Gearhart took over the Advancement Division from the deposed Brad Choate is another coincidence.

And that's my report from the hill.

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